It is with a kind of strange delayed excitement, dear reader, that I can finally share with you the news of new music from double hElyxir. A new song, with a Side A and Side B, entitled FutureMother. This song was actually fully complete during January of 2020 – but, as it is with all double hElyxir songs, the music was created by Chandrika and I in sync to her visual art. The particular art in question is a new painting, also called FutureMother, commenced during late 2016, and after years of Chandrika bringing the vision to form, it is finally complete. Here we are with the collective final result!
Listening now to what we created together puts me in a time-tunnel back to late 2019 to early 2020. We had travel obligations up and down the east coast of Australia, at a time which felt, at least to me, as if it were a prelude to an apocalypse. After years of drought, the blistering windy dry weather peaked into the natural disaster now known as Australia’s Black Summer – devastating forest fires of such size and magnitude that it was hard for me to not think that the global climate crisis had truly made itself felt as undeniable. We wove through areas wondering if we’d make it through before highways were closed, landscapes scotched that nearly always been wet forest for as long as I can remember. Some of the ideas for this song were emerging as we had brief reprieve enjoying the dreamy lands of the Byron Coast and hinterland, particularly Fingal Head. Later heading south again, around new year’s eve, we saw lands engulfed in smoke. Upon returning to Melbourne, day after day the smoke hung in silent testament to devastation.
Whenever I hear this music I remember smoke. Eucalyptus smoke for days. An orange sun and coughing. Amongst the the grim news surrounding us, other darkness was emerging overseas, worries of new virus that seemed to be spreading at an alarming rate in China. But, we had not got together to dwell upon doom – our aim was to make something beautiful to honour the slow emergence of motherhood in Chandrika’s painting. It may be a small gesture, but I feel that this was our little response to the war raging around us, a little moment for hope and life.
This time we set out with clear direction from Chandrika regarding instrumentation – classical strings. The first half of the song is a sequence of sonic storytelling, with motifs and sounds directed by Chandrika and then constructed by myself. She selected some fascinating sounds, including kookaburras, an ultrasound of a foetus heartbeat, wings of a mother-bird made from a synthesiser, war explosions, and gentle waves upon a beach. The second half of the song is more ‘classic’ double hElyxir, with a deep ambient groove and Chandrika’s improvised vocals. This also has the most lexical vocals Chandrika has done to date, improvising the lyrics on the go. I guess I was musically going for something that was both ‘smoky’ and ‘hopeful’.
The smoke came to an end when the rains delivered cooler weather. Our song was done. We’ve had three wet years in eastern Australia thanks to La Niña, with floods and a bonkers time with lock-downs and the threat of pandemic. Sometimes it’s felt like we could all do with a bit of mother-love from one to another – sometimes it feels the ‘mother’ within us all has been forgotten. Our times are of great uncertainty.
All the while I was lucky to witness the ongoing work Chandrika did on her amazing painting. It’s a remarkable piece, with worlds-with-worlds, both upside-down and right-way-up – alongside and in sequel to her other recent major work, SHe… A Flower Being. I am lucky to work alongside such a talent – check out her works here if you haven’t already.
The B-Side is a remix I made much later on as an ambient companion to FutureMother. It is my homage to the dreamy beauty that can happen at places like Fingal Head.
As with our previous work, FutureMother was mastered by our friend Simon, whom ensured the final analog and digital sonic magic.
FutureMother is now available on Bandcamp, and soon will be available everywhere else online. We hope you enjoy.
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